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Marx's Attempt to Leave Philosophy

By Daniel Brudney | Go to book overview

2 Feuerbach's Critique of Philosophy

IN THIS CHAPTER I look at Feuerbach critique of philosophy, primarily in the Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, and to a lesser extent in the Provisional Theses for the Reformation of Philosophy. The theme of transformation, the goal of shifting the reader's sense of herself in the world, is carried over from the critique of religion. And, as in The Essence, the result is supposed to be that one's view of the right way to answer certain questions (here philosophical ones) is also changed.

Thomas Wartenberg has pointed out that the Principles can be divided into three sections: the first tying modern philosophy to theology, the second characterizing and attacking Hegel's work as the culmination of modern philosophy, and' the last presenting the themes of Feuerbach's new philosophy. 1 The first part is intended to establish that modern or "speculative" philosophy--basically the rationalist tradition from Descartes to Hegel (see VT 243/156 and G §10, 275/13 and §19, 295/31)--has the same conceptual structure as Christianity and, therefore, can be critiqued on the same grounds. The interest of the Principles is in this critique. 2 But one first needs to see why Feuerbach thinks modern philosophy and Christianity are structurally similar. So I begin with that argument. It is not a good one, so my presentation is compressed to a sketch. I hope simply to give a feel for the dialectic that Feuerbach believes himself to be tracing.

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